Anwar's bid to attend parliament rejected by Malaysia's prisons department

PETALING JAYA - The Prisons Department has rejected an application by Anwar Ibrahim's family for the jailed opposition leader to attend parliament on March 9.

Anwar is serving a five-year jail sentence after his conviction for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan was upheld by the Federal Court last month.

Besides filing an appeal to the Prisons Department for Anwar to attend parliament, the 67-year-old politician's family also submitted an application to the palace for a Royal pardon on Feb 24 to prevent him from being automatically disqualified as member of parliament for the Permatang Pauh seat in Penang.

A report seen on the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) website on Wednesday stated that Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia has received a copy of the rejection letter from the Prisons Department.

The report quotes a source as saying that the application for Anwar to attend Parliament was rejected because he was now subject to the rules and procedures enforced by the Prisons Department.

Tan Sri Pandikar is expected to release an official statement on the matter.

The department's deputy director of prison policies Supri Hashim, said in a statement last week that all prisoners receive equal treatment and access to facilities.

"Any special treatment by prison staff (towards prisoners) will be acted upon," he said.